Saturday, February 13, 2016

More Sodas from Ace Hardware

I'm working on framing up some work of mine for an upcoming exhibition, so I had to stop at Frattallone's Ace Hardware (near Grand and Snelling) to get some glass. My boys are with my mother-in-law for the weekend, so I *actually* had time to look around without them destroying the place. I snapped 2 photos of their soda selection as I was there:

I looked through those images and compared them to what I had reviewed here on my blog, and I made notes of what to go back and get when I picked up my glass the next day:

Kinda scribbly. But I can read it, and I guess that's all that matters.

My new sodas from Ace!

Combine those with my decent stash that's still left from "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store" this fall, and I should be set for many months!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Dr. Brown's Diet Black Cherry Soda

My wife had a hankering for a ruben tonight, so I swung by Cecil's Deli:

Cecil's Sodas.
Some of Cecil's sodas.

Dr. Brown's Diet Black Cherry Soda
My soda for the evening, next to my wife's ruben (and fries).

Brand: Dr. Brown's Diet Black Cherry Soda.

Origin: College Point, NY.

Purchase Place: Cecil's Deli, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Aspartame.

Review: I forgot that I tried the non-diet version last year, and it wasn't the best. Well, this one was about the same. It was oddly creamy, which was strange in a black cherry soda. It had a decent amount of flavor for a diet soda, but the flavor was strange. It needed to be less creamy and more smooth (even though it tasted of "cream," it still had a decent "bite," and that was an odd combination). I'm giving it a slightly lower score than it's non-diet version.

Score: 3 out of 10.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Million Dollar Orange

"Million Dollar" is a lot to live up to…

Million Dollar Orange

Brand: Million Dollar Orange.

Origin: Breese, IL.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This was OK, but nothing spectacular. It was a decent orange, but nothing stood out. It's slightly creamy, but definitely not an "orange cream." I'll give it an average score.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Polar Root Beer

Another board meeting, another soda:

Polar Root Beer

Brand: Polar Root Beer.

Origin: Worcester, MA.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: This had a deep flavor, and was slightly on the thick side (without being gross). It has quite a strong caramel flavor that's maybe just a bit too much - this knocked down the score by about a full point. Pretty smooth, pretty sweet, and not bad overall.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Filbert's Old Time Quality Lime

I enjoyed this after a half marathon this weekend:

Filbert's Old Time Quality Lime

Brand: Filbert's Old Time Quality Lime.

Origin: Chicago, IL.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: For how neon this is, I was surprised that it had a nice, soft, subtle lime flavor. It wasn't over-powering, or too sugary-sweet. It wasn't anything fantastic or ground-breaking, but it was a simple, tasty lime soda.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Spring Grove Soda on the News!

I've been a fan of Spring Grove Soda for about 5 years now. In fact, this blog started with a case of Spring Grove Soda. This video was on WCCO just a few days ago:

Here's the article:

SPRING GROVE, Minnesota (WCCO) — There was a time when nearly every town in the state had a bottling company — and many sold their own soda pop.

As Coke and Pepsi grew, most bottling companies fizzed out, but one of the oldest bottling companies in the state is still going strong.

Spring Grove may be a quiet town. But that changes when it’s bottling day at Spring Grove Soda.

The process began 120 years ago, when the town’s pharmacist added a soda fountain and later started bottling his own pop.

“Once they bottled it, it’s not like it went all over the country. People could come in and buy a six pack of pop and take it home with them,” owner Bob Hansen said.

It was the “soda of the city,” and then word got out.

In the 1960s, then-owner Arnold Morken started distributing Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and began taking Spring Grove Soda along for the ride.

“He didn’t realize it at the time, but he basically saved the company,” Hansen said.

Hansen and his wife Dawn are the owners now. The company has changed hands over the years, but never formulas. They have 9 flavors, including their own concoction, Rhuberry, along with top sellers Strawberry and Lemon Sour.

“The blend that we started with, we never changed it. I think if we did there would be a mutiny in town,” Hansen said.

One hundred percent pure cane sugar is the life blood here. They have never used and never will use high fructose corn syrup or other additives. Fifty pound bags are sent up to the mixing room and into tanks.

One mixing tank can produce 320 cases of pop.

After flavoring is added, the soda is sent down to the filler area where the bottles are cleaned, then filled, then capped, then cleaned again. Business is bubbling over, as Spring Grove Soda can now be found in 48 states. But for local customers like Sue Morken, it’s home will always be here.

“We used to go to my grandma’s house and we’d but it by the case. We just thought it was the biggest treat in the world,” Morken said.

She’s not the only one who thinks so. Red’s grocery store up the street sells their fair share of six-packs.

“Twice a week. They have to come in and stock it twice a week,” Pat Longmire, owner of Red’s IGA, said.

They also keep their State Fair booth well-stocked. And Hansen has even taken special requests from across the country.

“You’ll get a phone call from somebody. They’ll say grandma or grandpa is on their last leg, they’re going to be passing away and we really need you to get us some soda out here as quick as you can,” Hansen said.

And they do. Because they know being home grown has everything to do with their pop’s popularity.

“I don’t think when Dawn or I bought the place we realized how much that meant to different people that it’s still going. The people of the area really treasure Spring Grove Soda,” Hansen said.

Spring Grove Soda bottles 40,000 cases a year.

We visited them at the State Fair in 2014 and had a root beer. And last year we snapped a photo as we walked by their stand, but didn't stop. Nice story, Spring Grove!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Gray's Strawberry

I tried this earlier today:

Gray's Strawberry

Brand: Gray's Strawberry.

Origin: Janesville, WI.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This is a very "adult" tasting strawberry. It's not too sweet, and it has a little hint of cream. It was surprising and pretty good. I don't know that I would pick it out as being strawberry flavored if the bottle didn't say so, but the berry flavor is quite nice.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Olde Brooklyn Williamsburg Root Beer

I just finished this delicious thing:

Olde Brooklyn Williamsburg Root Beer

Brand: Olde Brooklyn Williamsburg Root Beer.

Origin: Whitestone, NY.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This root beer has a very rich flavor, and almost has a Dr. Pepper hint to it. Very smooth, a bit heavy, but quite tasty. There's just the slightest caramel flavor too, which is usually something I don't care for, but it's so subtle here that it's just fine. I enjoyed this!

Score: 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

10 Cokes/Day

I enjoy soda in moderation. (Or at least I think it's "moderation.") Here's a reminder of why you shouldn't go too crazy: